McLean David Image 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1914


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Forfar born centre forward David McLean was a predatory forward and top class goalscorer who joined Celtic in April 1907 from hometown club Forfar Athletic making his debut against Port Glasgow that November, he hammered in a hat-trick as Celtic triumphed 5-0. Davie boasted lightening quick reactions and a powerful shot. Often he would latch on to a loose ball and drive it into the net before the opposition had even sensed the danger. He was able to score from any angle and his pace was a constant thorn in the side of defenders. He was however as quick with his tongue as he was his feet. He was not one to accept criticism willingly and as a result he would soon find conflict with Willie Maley. As Celtic manager, Maley was not one to tolerate players who challenged his authority, although he did make some exceptions. He had scored 19 goals for Celtic in 28 League appearances but Davie was not to be one of those exceptions and his personality clash with Maley meant that in November 1909 he was sold to First Division Preston North End for £400, making his Football League debut at Notts County the same month, scoring in a 3-1 defeat, followed by a double on his home debut against Newcastle United a week later in a 4-0 win.

Ridiculously, due to the then prevailing rules Davie didn’t receive a medal for his part in the two Championships Celtic won in 1907-08 and 1908-09. After 26 goals in 52 appearances at Preston, by the time he moved to Sheffield Wednesday in February 1911, Davie was rated among the best forwards in the game. His 26 goals in 1911-12 fired Wednesday into 5th place in the League, and included 4 against Sunderland on Boxing Day in an 8-0 thrashing, and a hat-trick at West Bromwich Albion in April. As a measure of recognition of his quality, he won a cap for Scotland, playing against England in a 1-1 draw at Hampden in March 1912 in front of over 127,000 spectators, which was the least he ever deserved. Sadly, it was a solitary cap before he re-joined Forfar in 1913, this after after an incredible 38 goal haul in 1912-13 had fired Wednesday into 3rd place in the League, with a hat-trick against Chelsea in February 1913 and 4 goals in an FA Cup tie against Grimsby Town among them.

He returned to Hillsborough from Forfar that December and played for Wednesday until the suspension of peacetime football due to the outbreak of World War One, and during the War he guested for Clydebank, Dykehead, Third Lanark and had one season at Rangers where he scored an incredible 29 goals in just 24 matches as Rangers finished second in the League, just one point behind Celtic. Davie was the top scorer in the Scottish League that season. Before returning to Sheffield Wednesday he had a spell with Irish League Linfield in 1918 and resumed at Hillsborough in 1919 making a final 3 League appearances in 1919-20 before he joined Bradford Park Avenue in October 1919 after an impressive 100 goals in 147 games for The Owls. He scored on his Bradford debut in a 1-0 home win over Chelsea and his 18 goals including hat-tricks against Preston and Blackburn kept them in the First Division that season. However his 22 goal haul the following season couldn’t save them from relegation, and he left them for Dundee after a second relegation in 1921-22 having scored 55 goals in 92 appearances. After 4 years at Dundee he returned to Forfar for a third spell in 1926, playing a further 6 years for Athletic before joining Dykehead in 1932, already aged 42! It is estimated that he scored around 500 goals in total, which is a phenomenal total for any striker in any era.

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